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The Linc – Concerns that emerged from the Eagles’ loss to the Cowboys

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The Linc - Concerns that emerged from the Eagles’ loss to the Cowboys
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Philadelphia Eagles news and links for 12/26/22.

Let’s get to the Philadelphia Eagles links …

NFC Hierarchy/Obituary: Week 17 edition – PhillyVoice
On the surface, the Eagles’ loss in Dallas could be hand-waived away as a not so meaningful game, but if you’re an Eagles fan looking for reasons to worry, there are plenty, notably: Was Saturday night what Jonathan Gannon’s scheme still looks like against quarterbacks who are playing well? When will the list of injuries stop piling up, and how many more might they suffer going forward because they couldn’t get the job done in Dallas? Will Jalen Hurts’ throwing ability be affected by his shoulder injury whenever he returns? If the Eagles win on New Years Day over the Saints, they can breathe a sigh of relief, lick their wounds, and begin prepping for the divisional round. If not…

Eagles Christmas wishlist for the NFL Draft – BGN
The Eagles have one of the best defenses in the league and a line that now has three different players with double digit sacks. However, few know better than Howie Roseman that you can never stop reloading in the trenches. While Josh Sweat, Haason Reddick and Jordan Davis are young cornerstones, they can keep adding young and dynamic talent to keep this line one of the league’s best for years to come.

NFL division races: Who will win NFC East, AFC South, AFC North, NFC South? – ESPN+
The NFC East is still a race because of three bouncing footballs. In a wildly entertaining 40-34 slugfest Saturday between the Cowboys and Eagles, the difference between winning and losing sure looked like three fumbles, each of which was recovered by the home team. Here’s how they swung: With a seven-point lead in the third quarter, Philadelphia quarterback Gardner Minshew and running back Boston Scott fumbled an exchange, which the Cowboys recovered on the Eagles’ 37-yard line. They turned the short field into a five-play touchdown drive. After an Eagles touchdown restored the seven-point lead, Dallas quarterback Dak Prescott was strip-sacked at midfield. The Cowboys recovered the ball on their own 38-yard line, preventing the Eagles from getting a short field. After another sack, they converted one of the key plays of the game by picking up a third-and-30 with a throw to T.Y. Hilton, scoring another touchdown four plays later. The Eagles took over with 2:24 left in the game down three points, but running back Miles Sanders fumbled for a second consecutive week. The Cowboys recovered on the Philadelphia 21-yard line, allowing them to take time off the clock. We’ll get to their decision to kick a field goal in a moment, but in doing so, they went up six points. Those three recoveries produced 10 points for the Cowboys and denied the Eagles a possession that would typically generate about 3.1 points. If the Eagles recover even one of these three fumbles and nothing else changes, their chances of winning increase dramatically. Forcing fumbles is a skill, but once those fumbles hit the ground, who recovers them is random.

DeVonta Smith, A.J. Brown making history together – NBCSP
DeVonta Smith and A.J. Brown are one of the most explosive and productive wide receiver tandems in the NFL. And here’s the best part: Smith is 24 and the Eagles control his contract through 2025, and Brown is 25 and under contract through 2026. They’re not going anywhere. Smith on Saturday in Dallas had another monster game – his second straight 100-yard game and third in the last four weeks – and surpassed 1,000 yards in his second season. He’s only the third wide receiver the Eagles have drafted in the last 30 years with a 1,000-yard receiving season, along with DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin. Brown also recorded his second 100-yard game in a row and third in four weeks, increasing his season total to 1,304 yards, already fifth-most in Eagles history but only 28 yards behind second place. Brown, who will play at least one more game and perhaps two, needs 106 yards to break Mike Quick’s franchise record of 1,409 yards set in a 16-game season in 1983.

NFL Week 16 Fantasy Football Recap: Dallas Cowboys vs. Philadelphia Eagles – PFF
The Cowboys have been one of the best teams this season at slowing down tight ends and also one of the worst at stopping wide receivers. It’s not surprising that both Eagles starting receivers had 100-yard games but Goedert wasn’t thrown to as much knowing this regardless of the injury. The Eagles play the New Orleans Saints next week, a team that has been equally good at slowing down tight ends, but that shouldn’t stop anyone from putting Goedert back in their fantasy starting lineups if they were cautious this week.

Hopping off the Tua Tagovailoa Train – Football Outsiders
Dallas Cowboys-at-Philadelphia Eagles Will Make a Great NFC Championship Game. The Cowboys proved that they can beat any team in the NFL on Saturday by climbing back from 10-0 and 27-17 deficits to beat the Eagles 37-34. The Cowboys spent Week 15 against the Jaguars and (let’s face it) Week 14 against the Texans proving that they can lose to any team in the NFL, so their Christmas Eve comeback and late-game defensive stop were an encouraging change of pace. The Eagles, meanwhile, illustrated that they are hardly helpless without Jalen Hurts. They should be able to wrap up homefield advantage in the NFC playoffs next week against the New Orleans Saints, who gave the world a welcome gift by eliminating the Cleveland Browns in a 17-10 snoozer. The Eagles’ biggest problems right now are sudden, newly developed habits of committing turnovers in bunches and making critical mistakes in high-leverage situations (like giving up a bomb to T.Y. Hilton on third-and-30). The Cowboys’ biggest problem right now remains that there is nothing sudden or new about those habits for them.

Robert Kraft’s Hall of Fame credentials and what’s next: Mike Sando’s Pick Six – The Athletic
Frequent rushes and scrambles can increase the number of times quarterbacks take hard hits, raising concerns about their bodies breaking down prematurely, even if they avoid any one catastrophic injury while rushing. Cam Newton, Michael Vick and Robert Griffin III ranked among the leaders in designed rushes and scrambles per start among quarterbacks who entered the NFL since 2000. None ranked among the leaders in quarterback longevity. Hurts, Justin Fields, Jackson, Kyler Murray and Josh Allen are among the current players with elevated usage in these ways. Hurts’ Eagles and Fields’ Bears earned praise for adapting their offenses to feature what both players offer as runners. Both quarterbacks suffered shoulder injuries while carrying out designed rushes for minimal gains. They could slide more, run less or seek the right balance.

Burning questions as 2022 NFL playoff picture takes shape – NFL.com
5) Will the Eagles hold on to the NFC’s No. 1 seed? Yes. They are the league’s most complete team, and quarterback Jalen Hurts is the rising tide that will keep them floating above challenges from Minnesota, San Francisco and Dallas. It’s unclear whether Hurts will miss a second consecutive game with his shoulder injury, but the Eagles are deep enough that they should be able to get by the Saints without him. If not, he could be healthy enough to return for the season finale against the Giants, whom they beat 48-22 two weeks ago.

Dallas Cowboys Playoff Picture: Bucs win Sunday night makes Cowboys playoff game in Tampa more likely – Blogging The Boys
Even if and when they win their division, the Buccaneers are locked into the four seed within the NFC. As noted many times the Eagles can win the NFC East with any Cowboys loss or win that they achieve on their own (which they couldn’t do Saturday by the way) and if Dallas is going to be the wild card then they will only be the #5 seed which means they will visit the Bucs. This would make for a very interesting Week 18 for both Dallas and Tampa Bay. How seriously would either team take their regular-season finale knowing not only that they are headed to the playoffs one week later but specifically having the knowledge of who they will be playing in the Wildcard Round. Of course that speculation is all for not if this certain set of things does not happen in Week 17. But be prepared. The Cowboys are very likely headed to Tampa Bay.

Giants-Colts odds: New York favored to clinch playoff spot – Big Blue View
The New York Giants hope the new year will bring the franchise’s first playoff berth since 2016, and oddsmakers are giving them a good chance of clinching a spot. The Giants are 3-point favorites against the Colts in Week 17 and are -165 moneyline favorites at DraftKings Sportsbook. The over/under opened at 41 points. Both the Giants and Colts are still reeling from excruciating losses to the Minnesota Vikings: the Colts’ loss coming on a 33-point comeback, and the Giants’ coming on a 61-yard field goal.

What are the odds? The Washington Commanders open as home favorites against the Cleveland Browns – Hogs Haven
The Washington Commanders lost a must-win game against the New York Giants in primetime last Sunday night and then traveled across the country on a short week to face the San Francisco 49ers. They were big underdogs there, and the final score was a 37-20 loss. Washington remains the 7th seed in the NFC playoffs due to the Seahawks and Lions losing. They are a half game ahead of the Seahawks and Lions, and also have the Packers creeping up the seeding if they win against the Dolphins today.

Tua Tagovailoa threw the worst interception of Christmas – SB Nation
The Miami Dolphins had one more chance to win the game against the Green Bay Packers on the final drive of their Christmas day matchup in Week 16. The Packers had just kicked a field goal to extend their lead to 26-20, and Tua Tagovailoa and the Miami had two minutes left to drive down the field for a game-winning touchdown. Instead, the Packers iced the game two plays later by intercepting Tagovailoa for the third time in the afternoon. Packers DB Rasul Douglas grabbed the game-ending interception to ice the win and keep the Packers’ slim playoff hopes alive. The Dolphins appeared to have Tyreek Hill open over the middle, but instead Tagovailoa tried to fit the ball into Mike Gesicki on the outside. He airmailed the throw, and Douglas stepped in for the easy pick. This is just an awful throw.

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